Banana Cultivation Guide
Banana is one of the important fruit crops grown in Nepal which is rich source of nutrient and is relatively cheaper than other fruit crops in Nepal. It is cultivated in Terai, Inner-Terai, lower hills and besins region of Nepal. Banana plant is considered as fortune indicator in religious point of view and is used in Bartabandha, Wedding and other functions. It is also used as table fruit and vegetable crop in some areas nowadays. It is rich in vitamins, phosphorus, calcium like minerals and in comparison, to other fruit crops, So, this fruit which is easily cultivated using local resources at low cost it creates employment opportunity in the Terai region of Nepal.
The commonly available varieties of Banana in Nepal used for commercial cultivation are as below:
a. Malbhog b. Harichal c. Robust d. William hybrid
e. G-9 f. Jhapali Malbhog
Climate & Soil:
Banana is tropical climate fruit which requires temperature range of 15-35 degree Celsius. For the better banana cultivation, relative humidity of 78-85 % is essential and upto the altitude range of 2000 m above the sea level. Winter temperature less than 12 degree Celsius will cause cold injury in banana and is susceptible to frost attack. Areas with low wind and hot & humid climate is optimum for this crop. Hot wind blowing and more frost occurring areas are not typical to this fruit.
Loamy soil or clayey loamy soil is best for this crop with drainage facility and good moisture retention capacity soil. Highly clayey and sandy soil are not suitable for this fruit and the optimum pH for this crop is 6.5-7.5.
The field is ploughed for 2-3 times making it weed free and levelled. Drainage is top priority for banana cultivation and for this ridges or furrows are prepared during field preparation. Before planting banana, pits are made at least one month before with the recommended fertilizer and crop protecting pesticides.
Suckers or Seedlings selection:
There are two types of sword and water suckers in banana. Sword like leaf having sucker is selected rather than sucker with dropping and horizontal leaves (water suckers) which gives faster and better fruiting. Such suckers should have large rhizome, conical in shape and turgid growing tip/bud to select as planting suckers. Suckers with 2-2.5 feet tall, of 2-3 months old narrow and upright leaves must be selected. According to cultivar type, suckers required are 700-1800 per bigha however, for commercial cultivation of banana, seedlings raised in secondary nursery, with 3 leaves produced by tissue culture are selected. Such seedlings which are hardened in secondary nursery will adapt well in main field.
Layout is done one month before transplanting.
- Pits are dug at 2-3 meter spacing
- Pit size: 60 cm * 60 cm * 60 cm
- Separate top & sub soil, burn the crop debris or straw in the pit.
- 10-15 kg FYM/compost + top soil + 10 grams (2 tea spoon) furadan is mixed and applied.
Planting is carried after 20-30 days after filling the pit with the recommended ingredients in the pit. Generally, spacing is maintained according to cultivars and planting is done with the help if planting board. It is carried out in the evening time.
- For dwarf varieties, 1000 plants per hectare
- For tall varieties, 600 plants per hectare
Manuring & Fertilization:
Banana is heavy feeder crop and requires higher amount of fertilizer. Fertilizer is applied @ 10-15 kg FYM/compost with 516 grams Urea, 152 grams DAP, 500 grams MOP per plant per year. Also apply Banana special (micronutrient) @ 15-20 grams per plant during planting. Fertilizer must be applied within 4-5 months after transplanting in banana.
Banana crop requires higher water or irrigation rate in comparison to others. Irrigation is required continuously for better adaptation of transplanted seedlings. It then requires irrigation at weekly to 12 days interval during summer but it only requires drainage facility during rainy season.
Following points should be considered during irrigation:
- During summer season apply water at 7-12 days interval but it requires irrigation only at 15-20 days interval.
- If drought continues for long duration during rainy season, irrigation is necessary but for most times, it requires drainage facility.
- Field at higher elevation requires frequent irrigation but lower field requires less frequent irrigation.
- Drip irrigation helps in saving 80% of irrigation water than in flooding irrigation which is useful in drought regions.
Orchard management in Banana field:
- Weed control
- Earthing up
- Pruning of leaves, diseases & old mother plants:
- Providing support/ Mattoking
- Removing male flowers, water suckers & so on.
Disease and pets in banana
Harvesting is done usually when most of the fingers attain their physiological maturity. For uniform ripening, ethrel is applied in the fruit which helps in ripening of fruit in the mother plant.
Carefully transportation is done and storage is done at low temperature of 4 degree Celsius and 80-95% relative humidity.
Storage and ripening
Banana fruits ripen quickly in summer season than winter season
Banana can be stored at 11-13°C and 86-90% relative humidity for long time but if temperature becomes less than 11°C, fruits get damaged due to cold.
Similarly by making holes and perforation in plastic bags, banana can be stored for 2-4 days.
Wound free, mature but unripe green banana fruits should be kept for storage. Storage room and ripening room should be kept different.
Ripening of banana needs temperature more than 20°C due to which winter season is unfavorable for ripening of banana.
About 25°C temperature is ideal for peel color and quality ripening of bananas. Calcium carbide or ethereal is used for ripening in 4-5 days. Temperature should be maintained during ripening.
Though naturally ripen fruits are better for health than chemically ripen fruits.
For More information about banana cultivation click here.
About the Author
Shesh Narayan Kahar
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science